Archaeal Dark Matter and the Origin of Eukaryotes (2017–2021)
This project aims to investigate the highly controversial origin of eukaryotes and thus all multicellular life within
Archaea, a domain of single-celled microorganisms. Resolving eukaryotic origins has long been hampered by an
inability to cultivate archaea from the environment. This project aims to develop a novel high-throughput single cell genomics approach to recover archaeal genomes, thus bypassing the cultivation step. The genomes will
contribute to a comprehensive taxonomic framework which will facilitate the evaluation of evolutionary relationships between the eukaryotic and archaeal domains. Visualisation of uncultured archaea, and the anticipated identification of eukaryote-like features, is expected to complement this phylogeny.